By Muhammad Luqman
Prices of imported vegetables have doubled in Lahore and other parts of Pakistan’s Punjab after the shipments of ginger and garlic virtually halted from neighbouring China due to Corona Virus scare.
” We are not having any shipment from China these days. Demand for ginger and garlic is much higher than the supply,” says Saddam Athar Khan, a vegetable importer at Lahore’s Baghami Bagh market.
Prices of ginger have gone up to Rs 12,000 per 30 kilogram bag (Rs 400 per kg) against last week’s Rs 7000. Eqaully is true about garlic as its domestic crop is expected in April.
There are stocks of ginger imported from China last month but it is not enough to meet the demand during the current month.
“We need to diversify the sources of ginger as there are more than a dozen countries in the world that produce this crop,” said Wasif Ali Bhatti, a vegetable trader.
Pakistan had historically been importing ginger from India but due to suspension of trade with its with the eastern neighbor, its dependence on stem crop from China and Thailand has increased gradually. Besides, India, China and Thailand, ginger is also produced and exported by Japan, Indonesia, Nigeria, the Philippines, Jamaica Islands, Sierra-Loan ,Brazil and Vietnam. According to importers, the Indian ginger has an edge in international markets due to its attractive colour and quality. Pakistan’s demand is met through imports due to inadequate domestic production.
But the ongoing Corona Virus scare has necessitated that the vegetable may be imported from the countries like Indonesia and Vietnam.
The importers believe, even if the Pakistan-China trade normalises, it will take another 30 days to have fresh imports.
” A shipment by sea takes atleast 26 days to reach Karachi port from China,” says Haji Muhammad Ishaq, a leading importer.
GINGER Zingiber officinale, Rosc) or commonly known ‘adrac’ belongs to the family “Zingiberaceae”. It includes two other condiments ‘haldi’ (turmeric), and ‘cardamom’ (Bari elaichi), along with few ornamental green house plants.
Ginger has never been produced in Pakistan due to problem of weather conditions as the commodity is harvested in areas where the weather is cloudy and rainy. Such particular areas do not exist in Pakistan.